Traveling abroad with your pet is challenging but feasible. Call me crazy but I travel everywhere with Annalisa. Our first international trip was to Trinidad & Tobago. The first trip is always the toughest but once you get through it, traveling with your pet will become a breeze.
I suggest if you’re planning a trip, start the necessary paperwork that varies per country, 2-3 months prior to flying out. A lot of foreign countries are Rabies Free and since the US isn’t, dogs are required to take a blood test called a Rabies Titer, which is essentially an estimation of an immune response against rabies virus, either through exposure or vaccination. (For information on other animals, please click on the link below).
The Rabies Titer is only available in Kansas for some reason and takes about a month to get results. Of course if you’re willing to pay an additional hefty fee you can get results within a week. The great news is that a Rabies Titer is valid for 3 years.
First, go to https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travelto see what the rules are for travelling with pets and which animals are “considered” pets. Scroll down to Take Your Pet From the US to a foreign country (EXPORT) and enter in the country of your choice and click View Requirements. I’ll use Trinidad & Tobago as an example since that was where Annalisa & I first traveled internationally.
BTW, United Airlines was super accommodating… I’ll get into airline travel in another post.
See below for general requirements for cats and dogs to enter Trinidad & Tobago. Please do not be fooled into thinking that this is all that’s needed. On the Import Permit there are always additional requirements / testing, etc. which you can only receive after the first few requirements are completed.
After you’ve completed the Microchip implant, rabies vaccination and titer (btw, only the original titer certificate is considered valid) and internal/external parasite treatment, you can apply for an Import Permit. Once you receive this original permit which in Trinidad’s case, had to be physically picked up by someone already in the country (this part was a nightmare. I really hope they change this law), you can see what additional requirements are on the Import Permit. Fees are less than $2 USD ($10TT dollars). Additionally fees may apply once you enter the country. For example, if you're flight lands after normal working hours, you will have to pay a fee for a Vet to come view your pet. We landed at 11pm so I think our fee was around $100USD. Any additional charges should be listed on your Import Permit.
Finally, you will have to revisit your Vet to complete all of the additional testing needed on the permit and receive an accredited health certificate. Within 7 days of travel, you must then visit a USDA office in your city, to get your health certificate endorsed. Since we were flying out of LA, the closest USDA office was in El Segundo. Allot a full day for this visit where you cannot bring your pet.
When returning into the US you should ask the USDA what are the requirements to return. However, at various US airports, I was only asked for our Rabies Certificate to reenter.
Drop us a line at (info@Annalisa-Unleashed.com) if you’re having difficulty entering a foreign country or reentering the US. We would be more than happy to help.
Best of Paws,
Annalisa & Aiysha